With their name meaning “little lion”, it’s perhaps little wonder that Shih Tzu’s are popular with both families and doting dog owners alike. However, despite the rather macho image the thought of a lion might well conjure up in the mind’s eye, there’s certainly nothing aggressive about this adorable dog breed. In fact, on the contrary, the Shih Tzu is a lover, not a fighter and you’ll typically find them following their owner from room to room, complete with waggy tail and plenty of affection to share!
That said, as with any dog breed, the Shih Tzu also comes with certain hereditary health issues and here we look at the top ten health issues you might not know about!
Brachycephalic Airway Syndrome
Unfortunately this particular breed is prone to brachycephalic airway syndrome – and in fact, some puppies are simply born with it. This basically means that they have breathing issues which are primarily related to their general body structure and can include at least one of four main issues:
Stenotic nares (where the opening of the nostrils are effectively ‘pinched’)
Elongated soft palate (involving abnormal growth of the issue tissue in the back of the throat)
Collapsed larynx (whereby the neck cartilages are weakened) and
Trachea issues (which can either be abnormally small or completely collapsed)
Typically, around half of Shih Tzu’s suffer from this particular syndrome and it perhaps goes without saying that treatment (which can usually involve surgery) can be extremely expensive.